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Position Battle: Kicker

Nick Ferrara is the only scholarship kicker on board. Can he beat the walk-ons? (Short answer: yes, probably). Image via <a href="http://www.specialteamssolutions.com/images/DCNick2009.jpg">specialteamssolutions.com</a>
Nick Ferrara is the only scholarship kicker on board. Can he beat the walk-ons? (Short answer: yes, probably). Image via specialteamssolutions.com

As there always is after a kicker leaves, there'll be a fierce position battle for the spot. Maryland hasn't had an elite kicker since Nick Novak - Dan Ennis was servicable, as was Obi Egekeze, but neither could be described as "great." It may be a bit much to ask for that this year, but at least there's a chance, which is a hell of a lot more than what there used to be. God, I miss having an elite kicker.

The Contenders: Nick Ferrara, Nick Wallace, Mike Barbour

Nick Ferrara: Ferrara is a somewhat rare commodity - a scholarship kicker. Generally, when there's a kicker on scholarship, he starts. Otherwise, it's a valuable scholly wasted. For that reason alone, I expect him to start. I don't know much about him, but his profile at Kicking.com (yeah, that's a legit website) is pretty impressive. He claims to have made a 62-yarder in practice, and had an 84 yard kickoff. His long in a game is 47, which is plenty servicable. It would be surprising if he ended up not starting.

Nick Wallace: A transfer from Indiana (no, not that Indiana; Indiana, Pennsylvania),  Wallace was okay in the spring game, but pretty unspectacular - 2 for 3, making two chip shots (23, 24) and missing the long one (47). His stats from IUP were less than impressive - 11 of 13 on FGs (long of 40) and 30 of 33 on XPs. Also, I saw him in a HS game once, and I remember him missing a clutch XP in the 4th quarter. (Sidenote: that didn't matter, his team returned a PR for a TD). That said, he could claim the job with a good fall.

Mike Barbour: Like Wallace, he's a walkon kicker, this time from upstate NY. He doesn't even have a bio on UM's official site, but his numbers in the spring game resembled Wallace's - 1/2, making the 25-yarder, missing the 43-yarder. Not wholly impressive, but, like Wallace, he could work his way in with a good fall.

Prediction: Let's just say I'll be extremely surprised if Ferrara doesn't start. Wallace and Barbour just haven't been impressive, while Ferrara's HS numbers were very good. You never know if a freshman kicker can handle the pressure, so Wallace/Barbour can't be counted out right away, but anything less than a terrible job from Ferrara should net him the job.